Blackhawks lineup changes surprise, raise questions after Game 3


Blackhawks lineup changes surprise, raise questions after Game 3

Coach Joel Quenneville hinted that there would be changes on Thursday night, giving his patented, “we’ll see” when asked about the lineup.

He wasn’t kidding, and the changes were surprising: Antoine Vermette and Teuvo Teravainen were out and Kris Versteeg and Joakim Nordstrom were in for Game 3 against the Anaheim Ducks. The game’s outcome wasn’t decided by the changes – please see that awful power play – but they certainly left one wondering why they were made.

Quenneville said he was looking for “fresh legs” when he put in Versteeg and Nordstrom, neither of whom had played since the first round against the Nashville Predators. It was an interesting turn of events following Game 2, a triple-overtime victory in Anaheim, given Quenneville rarely makes changes following a triumph. But there it was nonetheless.

“Steeger didn’t play for a long stretch and we wanted to get him back in there,” Quenneville said. “It was a tough day the other day with travel and we wanted to bring new guys in.”

[MORE: Ducks dominate third period again in postseason]

So did the changes have the desired effect?

“I thought we had a good start with that, good first period, energy,” he said. “The power play may have lost momentum. The second period they got it back and obviously scored a big one at the end.”

The changes did alter the lines; Andrew Shaw was moved to center the third line with Patrick Sharp and Versteeg, and Nordstrom was on the fourth line with Marcus Kruger and Andrew Desjardins.

Versteeg found out earlier Thursday he was playing in Game 3.

“The first two shifts it was like I was standing in the speedway,” said Versteeg, who played 13:31. “It was going pretty quick. Once the game progressed, I thought I settled in nicely. Obviously would have liked to tuck one away for the guys to help them out. All in all, I felt pretty good tonight.”

As we said, it’s surprising that Quenneville changed things after a victory. It was also strange to hear the “tired legs” reason. At Wednesday’s availability, Quenneville was asked about his top defensemen’s high minutes, and if he was concerned about the potential wear and tear to them.

[SHOP: Gear up, Blackhawks fans!]

“They just had 10 days off,” he said. “So I feel pretty good about it.”

Asked if Vermette and/or Teravainen were hurt, Quenneville said they were “fine.” Teravainen certainly seemed healthy on Thursday morning, when he participated in an optional skate and talked to the media following it. But is Vermette healthy? Maybe he is. But this is the postseason, when no one dares mention injuries.

We’ll find out more in the coming days. Will the Blackhawks go back to the lineup they had prior to Game 3? Quenneville said, “we’ll consider all our options.”

The lineup changes weren’t the reason why the Blackhawks lost on Thursday. But if both players are healthy, it also seems those lineup changes weren’t necessary.

Blackhawks honor Dave Bolland with “One More Shift” Friday

Blackhawks honor Dave Bolland with “One More Shift” Friday

Former Blackhawks forward Dave Bolland will be honored with “One More Shift” on the ice at United Center this Friday prior to Hawks matchup against the Columbus Blue Jackets.

Bolland will stand with the team during the National Anthem and skate on ice in full gear. Along with time on ice, the United Center will also honor Bolland by showcasing his career highlights throughout the arena.

The Blackhawks will be celebrating the 10 year anniversary of their 2010 Stanley Cup win at five games this season, coinciding with “One More Shift” nights to honor individual players.  The United Center Atrium doors will open at 4pm, giving fans a chance to look at the interactive photo opportunities and historical items on display. Bolland will participate in a Q&A in the atrium at 6:30 p.m. before he hits the ice.

Dave Bolland was drafted by the Blackhawks in 2004 and spent ten seasons of his NHL career in Chicago. Bolland played with the team during two Stanley Cup championships, scoring the game-winning goal in the final minute of Game 6 of the 2013 Stanley Cup Finals against the Bruins. Bolland played in all 22 playoff games in 2010, garnering 16 points (eight goals, eight assists) which shared fifth among Blackhawks skaters in the postseason. Bolland recorded his best season of his career during the 2008-09 campaign with the Blackhawks, skating in a career-high 81 regular-season games and recording career highs in goals (19), assists (28) and points (47).

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Blackhawks Talk Podcast: Blackhawks show urgency vs. the undefeated

USA Today

Blackhawks Talk Podcast: Blackhawks show urgency vs. the undefeated

The Blackhawks finally got on the board for the season and did so in front of the 500th consecutive capacity crowd at the United Center.

Pat Boyle, Jamal Mayers and Charlie Roumeliotis break down the impressive performance by the Blackhawks against the undefeated Edmonton Oilers and discuss how Jeremy Colliton’s message got through to Alex Nylander and the rest of the team.

Plus, after an impressive performance in net, should Corey Crawford get the next game vs. the Blue Jackets? And what does the future have in store for Kirby Dach? Jamal makes a bold prediction.

0:54 – Blackhawks finally show urgency in 2nd period

2:47 – Penalty kill starting to show some life

5:00 – Thoughts on the Shaw/Strome/Kane line

6:43 – Blackhawks eliminating some defensive breakdowns

9:23 – Big rebound performance from Corey Crawford

11:36 – Colliton’s message to Alex Nylander got through

15:21 – Brandon Saad has been a pleasant surprise early on

17:15 – Dominik Kubalik’s impressive performance

18:31 – Will Kirby Dach be with the Blackhawks all season?

22:42 – Does Crawford or Lehner start vs. the Blue Jackets?

Listen to the entire episode here or in the embedded player below.

Blackhawks Talk Podcast


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